Core Module Information
Module title: Scientific Methods

SCQF level: 11:
SCQF credit value: 20.00
ECTS credit value: 10

Module code: ENV11109
Module leader: Patrick White
School School of Applied Sciences
Subject area group: LIFE SCIENCES


Description of module content:

This module has three strands: philosophy and practice of science; statistical analysis and the use of R; an introduction to taxonomy and species ID. Content will include the nature of the literature and scientific method including survey and experimental strategies and the need for replication and controls. Working with people and qualitative research methods involve a different set of ethical and regulatory issues which will also be discussed. Statistical and related methods for analysing and presenting data will be covered in the first half of the module together with taxonomic theory and field and lab sessions looking at a range of taxa.

Learning Outcomes for module:

Upon completion of this module you will be able to:
LO1: Plan, propose and justify a novel scientific investigation.
LO2: Select and apply appropriate statistical methods for data analysis, and report and critically assess the results
LO3: Understand the philosophical basis of experimental and observational method and the processes maintaining the quality of scientific information, and be able to apply this understanding critically and at a professional level.

Full Details of Teaching and Assessment
2022/3, Trimester 1, Face-to-Face, Edinburgh Napier University
Occurrence: 001
Primary mode of delivery: Face-to-Face
Location of delivery: SIGHTHILL
Partner: Edinburgh Napier University
Member of staff responsible for delivering module: Patrick White
Module Organiser:

Learning, Teaching and Assessment (LTA) Approach:
A series of lectures throughout the module present key ideas relevant to the research design and taxonomy topics (LOs 1, 2 &3). These lectures will be recorded and made available with additional reading material via the Moodle site for both fulltime and distance students. Statistics will be taught in the PC lab with an initial theory introduction recorded each week but with most focus on the practice developed by working through tutorial sheets with test questions to inform self-assessment (LO2). Some topics including risk assessment and ethics lend themselves to a group work approach within the class setting.

Formative Assessment:
Lecture notes include formative self-assessment questions to prompt engagement as well as feedforward materials for the final assessment.
Data sets for statistical analysis throughout the module will allow reinforcement of techniques and self-assessment. A revision session with sample questions prior to the stats test will provide a formative assessment opportunity as correct answers are explained. A sample research proposal will be made available for critique and mock assessment.

Summative Assessment:
There are two items of summative assessment; the development and oral presentation of a research proposal will link to material across the module (LOs 1 and 3) while an online test involving data analysis, interpretation and problem solving questions is designed to test LO 2. Campus students will take this test in a PC lab under exam conditions. Distance students who cannot attempt it at the same time will have a number of days in which to take the test, however, once started, it will be available for the same duration as that taken by the other students.

Student Activity (Notional Equivalent Study Hours (NESH))
Mode of activityLearning & Teaching ActivityNESH (Study Hours)
Face To Face Practical classes and workshops 24
Face To Face Tutorial 2
Face To Face Fieldwork 18
Independent Learning Guided independent study 134
Face To Face Lecture 22
Total Study Hours200
Expected Total Study Hours for Module200

Type of Assessment Weighting % LOs covered Week due Length in Hours/Words
Oral Presentation 30 1 & 3 11 HOURS= 0.10, WORDS= 0
Centrally Time Tabled Examination 70 2 7 HOURS= 2, WORDS= 0
Component 1 subtotal: 70
Component 2 subtotal: 30
Module subtotal: 100

Indicative References and Reading List - URL:
Scientific Methods ENV11109